Josh Shaw: Back in business

Josh Shaw has learned the hard way, the USC defensive back says of his senior sidetracking that has taught him some hard-earned lessons.

It was time.

Josh Shaw has been talking to NFL scouts for more than two months -- at the East-West Game, the Senior Bowl and the NFL Combine. Wednesday, he talked to USC media for the first time since his suspension for that manufactured, and wildly false, rescue-of-a-nephew-from-drowning story that cost him 10 games of his senior season.

So how has he been talking about that one big blemish on an otherwise distinguished college career? "I look them in the eye and tell them the truth," Josh says, "and let them see who I am. That mistake was out of character for me and I learned from it. I'm a good character guy."

A guy who made an out-of-character mistake. And it seems to have paid off, that looking-them-in-the-eye approach and more importantly, coming clean. "I've been getting good vibes out of every meeting."

But that's only recently. He did it, Josh says, "out of fear and not wanting to disappoint my family," he said of the two sprained ankles he sustained jumping off his apartment balcony after a neighbor had called the LAPD because of an argument with his girlfriend.

"It was crazy, bizarre, I paid for it . . . I definitely hit rock bottom," he said. He credits Steve Sarkisian with helping him through the long weeks away from football by bringing him into his office each week and keeping up his sense of still being a part of the Trojan team as the leisurely LAPD and USC investigations finally concluded by clearing him of any criminal conduct.

And no, he finds no blame for anyone in the way this played out, slow as that process may have been. "I did it to myself," he says. "Tell the truth."

But it wasn't easy "sitting on my couch," he says, and watching USC lose on that "Jael Mary" play to Arizona State when a veteran safety on the field might have made all the difference. And all he could think was "that was because of me" that he was there.

And yes, "there were times when I didn't know how this was going to work out," he says, so with just a two-hour internship to finish up, he threw himself into working out as soon as his ankles got better.

But now he's gone from having nothing to do to a full schedule of workouts starting with the Texans Monday. "My schedule is booked," says the 6-foot, 200-pound hybrid DB who is athletic enough to play corner and big and tough enough to play safety. "They like my versatility."

But maybe more than anything, they like the way he ran a 4.41 in the 40 at the Combine so he didn't have to run Wednesday, just position drills. And despite missing three weeks of work before the Combine, Josh thought he should have been in the 4.3's. Although no one at USC imagined he could run that fast.

Maybe it was all that working out.

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